For her 90th birthday, British actress Peggy Cummins was able to see herself star in Leslie Hiscott’s “Welcome Mr. Washington” for the first time in over five decades. The war-time starlet was discovered and brought to Hollywood by 20th Century Fox studio head Daryl Zanuck immediately after releasing the now rediscovered feature.
Rather fitting, the once lost film has also resurfaced in time for the 75th anniversary of the BFI National Archive. Unfortunately for classic cinema enthusiasts, the full-length version no longer exists, but a new re-released version, cut by the BFI in tandem with Paramount Studios, can now be enjoyed.
Peggy Cummins said of the discovery, “I am absolutely delighted to be able to see this early film of mine again. It was at a key stage in my career and it was very important to me. I am very pleased that the film has been brought back to the BFI. I’m also very grateful for the effort the BFI has gone to in order to bring the film back to the screen.”
Added Robin Baker, Head Curator of BFI National Archive, “The rediscovery of a ‘lost’ British film is always cause for celebration, but it goes to underline quite how fragile our film and TV heritage is. It’s great to be able to be able to present this charming wartime drama featuring the wonderful Peggy Cummins. It’s an important addition to the riches of our holdings of the cinema of WWII.”
“Welcome Mr. Washington” will play on January 29 and 31 at the BFI Southbank. Peggy Cummins will introduce the latter screening.